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“Unconscionable and Indefensible”: U.K. Government Vetoes Scottish Gender Equality Bill

HeadlineJan 17, 2023

In Britain, the government of Conservative U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has vetoed a bill passed by Scotland’s Parliament that would have made it easier for people to change their legal gender. The legislation was approved by Scottish lawmakers last month. It would make it simpler and faster for transgender people to obtain legal documents establishing their gender, would end the need for a medical diagnosis of “gender dysphoria” and would extend those rights to teenagers as young as 16. It’s the first time since the Scottish Parliament was established in 1999 that the U.K. government has used its veto power to block a Scottish law from taking effect. On Monday, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon condemned the veto as a “full-frontal attack” on the Scottish Parliament.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon: “In my view, it will be, quite simply, a political decision, and I think it will be using trans people, already one of the most vulnerable, stigmatized groups in our society, as a political weapon. And I think that will be unconscionable and indefensible and really quite disgraceful.”

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